Samir Nasri asks for forgiveness
Samir Nasri has again called for forgiveness as he prepares to end his year-long international exile during France's friendly against Belgium on Wednesday.
The Manchester City player, 26, has not played for his country since being given a three-game international ban for his foul-mouthed outburst after scoring against England at Euro 2012 and subsequent violent verbal altercation with a journalist following Les Bleus' quarter-final exit to Spain in Ukraine over a year ago.
Originally named in the squad for France's post-season tour of South America, Nasri was forced to pull out of the trip through injury meaning Brussels will likely be the stage on which he hopes to prove as good as his promise that he has finally faced up to his past wrongdoing.
"I didn't behave in an exemplary fashion. I rejected many opportunities to express myself. People write what they see, what I can allow them to see. I can't complain about that," Nasri told the media at France's training centre at Clairefontaine, outside of Paris. "You have to realise things at a certain time. I've not been exemplary. That's all. I'm not going looking for excuses."
Nasri owes his return to coach Didier Deschamps, who had frequently reserved himself the right to recall the talented former Arsenal man while also emphasising the need for all players in the squad to maintain the highest standards both on and off the pitch. It appears the message has finally been received by Nasri.
"He's got faith in me, and I want to repay that. Everyone has the right to a second chance. I've not killed anyone. In 2010, there were much more serious incidents and players were given a second chance. It's down to me not to repeat the sort of errors which saw me sidelined for a year," said Nasri, who notably fell out with former Arsenal and international team-mate William Gallas at Euro 2008. "Nobody in the squad has come to me and told me they have a problem with me. It's possible that happens. You're not friends with all 23 players. Personally, I've never had an altercation with anyone in the French squad. In the past, certainly, but not now."
Deschamps' decision to leave Nasri out of the picture was made easier by the ex-Marseille starlet's indifferent form for City for much of the last Premier League season. However, a late campaign flourish earned his initial recall, and Nasri believes he will gain further momentum under new City boss Manuel Pellegrini.
"When you're out of the national side for a year, you ask yourself quite a few questions and you have quite a lot of doubts. But my form for my club for most of last season wasn't good enough to allow me to come back," he explained.
"The tournament in South America was the opportunity for me to show what I can do. I was in form. I had finished the season well with Manchester City. Then there was the change in coach, new players arrived. I might have played less, but that didn't happen. I've had quite a good pre-season. The coach has shown his faith in me, which is great."